Well, at least one Navy tradition is alive and well


(Source: USNA Facebook) A Naval Academy company commander takes a plunge in the Severn River Oct. 25 after Final Fall Parade.

The Naval Academy on Sunday posted photos of midshipmen getting tossed into the Severn River. It’s part of a Final Fall Parade  tradition, in which plebes chase their company commanders to the river. Once at the dock, the commanders are hoisted up and tossed in.

(Source: USNA Facebook)
A midshipman tagged as Allison Schwinn braces herself before a dip in the Severn River on Oct. 25.

The temperature topped out in the high-50s over the weekend in Annapolis, Md., so you know that water was cold. The academy posted an album from the day’s festivities on Facebook, with the accompanying description:

Midshipmen marched in the final fall parade of the 2013 season on Friday, October 25. However – this parade did not end as disciplined as usual. As tradition would have it, plebes broke from their ranks the last 200 meters of the parade to chase their Company Commanders and throw them into the Severn River. This tradition dates back nearly 20 years. Throwing the Company leaders into the Severn serves as a celebratory measure, marking the end of the fall parade season.  


(Source: USNA Facebook)
8th Company commander John Blum tried to outrun the fourth class and their strong grips Oct. 25 to avoid being thrown into the Severn River.




A few weeks ago, a reader lamented the death of Navy tradition in our pages. The retired lieutenant commander accused the Navy of becoming too politically correct after cracking down on hazing-like behavior associated with advancement ceremonies, crossing the equator and chief season.

But maybe the midshipmen are on to something here.

Is it still hazing if the juniors are tormenting their senior?

Maybe lower enlisted should be allowed to toss their chiefs into the water every now and then for fun. Would that improve morale?


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  1. Franklyn H.Lord on

    One of the best days of my navy career was the day I was “Frocked” and made humble in front of my juniors. Keep tradition.

  2. Marq Taylor, HM1(Ret) on

    It is good to see that some Navy Traditions still live on. I remember the pride that I felt when I was Frocked to HM3 as well assome of the other traditions that are now considered hazing. I would agree that some things get out of hand, but those people should be dealt with individually. Keep tradition alive!! Go Navy!!

  3. I well remember the day I received my Dolphins from the admiral who was comsubron 11, but the memory I truly cherish was from my shipmates who ensured that the insignia was not at risk of falling off.

    My chest was black and blue for a week, but qualifying and entering their ranks was worth it.

  4. Do you actually think those moments would have been any less important and memorable if people hadn’t been punching you repeatedly. Correct me if I am wrong but it was the hard work and long hours that qualified all of you for those things not the fact that multiple people beat you. Frankly I am not surprised or disappointing about the Navy moving away from its similarities to a college fraternity. If you enjoy people thinking of Navy personnel as the irresponsible alcoholic frat boys of the military, good for you. I for one, have too much respect for myself and my Navy friends and family for that.

  5. Looking at the picture of Allison Schwinn being physically man-handled by four men made me question whether this was the same USNA that currently has a high-profile rape case pending. In such circumstances, one might imagine that those outside the Navy would take a dim view of such hazing, leading those within the service to adjust their behavior accordingly to ensure that the Navy only appears in the press for professionalism, not puerilism. It is a shame that this appears not to be the case.

  6. Ronald J. Riml on

    Obviously Mr. John Craig has difficulty recognizing the difference between a time honored ‘Rite of Passage’ intended to cement the socialization of the initiate into full membership of a ‘Group’ – and the act of rape. I was initiated Shellback over forty-five years ago – it was not gentle; I am also a proudly initiated Senior Chief Petty Officer. As a retired Lieutenant of Police and Investigator in an extremely high crime area, I had many occasions to investigate sexual assault including Rape. These victims never have a choice – I did. Rape is a crime of violence and power – not of socialization and inclusion.

  7. Stewart Montross on

    I quote the following: “Maybe lower enlisted should be allowed to toss their chiefs into the water every now and then for fun. Would that improve morale?”
    Are you kidding me? We dont want to make “new traditions” And that is a real dumb uninformed idea you got there. Society has changed so much that what us old salts grew up on and accepted as rites of passage are see as hazing because these new kids grew up indoors playing X-Box. We grew up aotside playing kickball, Stickball, Football and hung out at park recreation areas interacting with people. We got in fights, got black eyes and no one called the cops or went to press charges. That is part of growing up. This country as a whole are getting soft and whiney. Get back to the basics of life or we will have a Navy full of wimps who will cower in tough times.

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